Senate Dems propose increasing IRS budget

Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed increasing the budget of the Internal Revenue Service and other financial agencies next year. 

The IRS would get $12.07 billion in funding under the Financial Services subcommittee bill reported to the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, an increase of $276.5 million.

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House Republicans, in contrast, have suggested cutting the IRS's budget by 24 percent. 

Senate Republicans are not happy with the funding level proposed by Democrats, and subcommittee ranking member Sen. Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (R-Neb.) took the rare step of recording a “no” vote against the bill

“Count the IRS among the winners in the bill despite the political targeting that appalled all of us and eroded the public’s trust,” Johanns said. 

The IRS has been embroiled in controversy since May, when the administration admitted the agency had improperly handled requests for tax-exempt status by conservative and Tea Party groups. 

Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Pruitt hires outside attorney as investigations mount: report Overnight Energy: Pruitt gets Senate grilling | Dems want investigation into Pruitt's security chief | Interior officers arrested 13 in border surge | Advisers pan science 'transparency' plan MORE (D-N.M.), in his first markup in his new role, said the bill contains language to force the IRS to improve its management. He called the House cuts “counterproductive,” arguing they would lead to personnel cuts and result in lost tax revenue. 

In total, the Senate bill contains $23.2 billion in discretionary spending, an increase from the $21.4 billion enacted in 2013 before automatic spending cuts under the sequester went into effect.

The bill increases funding for the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) gets $110 million more and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gets $353 million in additional funds.

The bill heads to full committee on Thursday.